The Capital Region Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union will honor three formidable public advocates — Blair Horner, Barbara Bartoletti and Joe Paparone — who have dedicated their careers to challenging political corruption in New York; lobbying for good government, and seeking to ameliorate the plight of immigrants.
The NYCLU Annual Awards Ceremony will take place on Thursday, November 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Hearst Media Center, 645 Albany Shaker Road, Albany.
This year, the NYCLU will inaugurate a new award recalling the life and work of Peter Henner, a long-time friend of the Capital Region Chapter who served on the organization’s board and legal committee.
Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, will be the first recipient of the Peter Henner Award.
“Peter never forgot that the highest purpose of the law is to protect human rights, civil rights and the environment from the greedy and the powerful,” said Melanie Trimble, director of the NYCLU’s Capital Region Chapter.
Horner has been a thorn in the side of New York’s political establishment for decades. He began working for NYPIRG in 1979, becoming the organization’s legislative director in 1987 and its executive director in September 2015. He has lobbied for, and produced scores of reports on, political ethics, tobacco control, auto insurance reform, campaign finance laws, health care and higher education funding.
The Capital Region Chapter has traditionally presented two awards each year, one in memory of activist Carol S. Knox; the other in memory of progressive anti-war Congressman Ned Pattison. This year’s recipients of those awards are Barbara Bartoletti and Joe Paparone.
Barbara Bartoletti joined the League of Women Voters in 1978, and has been the legislative director for the League of Women Voters of New York State from 1988 until her recent retirement. She oversaw all legislation of interest to the League in the state Legislature, advocating and lobbying on good government issues, and has had a special interest in increasing funding to public schools, especially for high needs districts.
Joe Paparone is the clergy and community organizer at the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State and is also the advocacy coordinator at the FOCUS Churches of Albany.
In addition, Paparone volunteers with ICE-Free Capital District, and Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration. He has been particularly active in providing assistance and comfort to those facing harsh governmental actions on immigration. He is currently pursuing ordination in the Mennonite Church USA.
For information about the event, call 518-436-8594 or visit the awards ceremony page here.